15 Reasons to Detest T-SPLOST and Punish its Promoters

T-SPLOST creates 12 new “regional” governments

Originally posted by CityStink
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Augusta, GA
By Al Gray
The author, Al M. Gray is President of Cost Recovery Works, Inc., a provider of Cost Avoidance and Cost Recovery for America’s leading companies, businesses and governments desiring Superior Returns.
*Please see a video presentation by Al Gray warning county leaders about the perils of T-SPLOST—>Here
The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 (also referred to even in the legislation as the ‘Transportation Investment Act’) is being called T-Splost all over Georgia. The legislation establishes a new 1% sales tax supposedly dedicated to regional transportation.
Our region is the Central Savannah River Region, consisting of populous Richmond and Columbia counties, along with 11 rural counties. The tax covers a 10 year period. The funds are totaled for the region, then allocated based upon 75% a “constrained investment list of projects and 25% discretionary funds based upon an 80% non-state road miles per county and 20% based upon population. Funds are collected by the Georgia Department of Revenue, then transferred to the Georgia Finance and Investment Commission for distribution.
Confusing? You bet. That is intentional.
Here is the evaluation, from a cost recovery and fiscal conservative policy point of view of why TSPLOST is an abomination:
  1. The Bill says only the 5 member executive board has a vote on the final project list. Rural voters have no representation in that vote.(see Executive Committe paragraph ½ down the page) This is Taxation without Representation #1.
  1. Rural voters in 11 counties can vote it down, but still are subjected (See Special Districts, paragragh 2) to this regional government, if it massively passed in urban counties. This is Taxation without Representation #2.
  1. It is an Act of Extortion. The bill says regions that do not pass it see their state funds matching TRIPLED from 10 percent to 30 percent. (See Line 687-692, page 20, House Bill 277) (Good news is that it will fail in a region or two prompting a HUGE lawsuit.) Bill Jackson, Ben Harbin, and Lee Anderson voted to allow Nathan Deal to extort money out of us in this manner.
  1. Richmond County and Columbia Counties are Donor Counties, giving up an estimated $5 million and $2 million respectively, to fund the 25% discretionary funds for the other 11 counties. McDuffie County is said to be also a minor donor county, although the author’s analysis suggests it has a very slight benefit of less than $100,000 over 10 years.
  1. It is a 14.2% tax increase. Frugal folks get WIPED OUT by anything that increases living costs by double digits as your living costs double in less than 5 years (see Rule of 72). Worse, it compounds the 14% Georgia Power rate increases that Jackson, Anderson and Harbin gave us.
  1. The $840 million figure the Chamber is Presenting is A LIE AND THEY KNOW IT. It is built on a wild income growth figure of 8% next year. WHO is getting 8% pay increases???? Their own figure is $689 million, apples to apples. Even that is too high by $50 million because the “low case” numbers are known to be off for this year by more than 50%. (More on this later.)
  1. It introduces a whole NEW LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT!!!! Ron Cross contests that with your author, but it has its own governing body, revenue stream, financial apparatus, and it calls for NEW STATE/REGIONAL positions (House Bill 277 New Code section, lines 236-329) written into the bill.
  1. It turns over nearly all funding in the rural counties (HB 277, line 786-789) to DOT, an agency this whole deal is bailing out after it lost track of its contract obligations, a failure so bad that Governor Perdue accused DOT of “ENRON ACCOUNTING.
  1. Politicians already see this as a NEW way to divert or tie highway funds to such things as deepening the port at Savannah. This shouts WARNING!!!!!,for the state cannot be trusted with its TRUST FUNDS. Look up the Tire Fund, 911 fund, and Tobacco funds. What really is absurd is that this whole imbroglio was set up to CLAIM that it protected us from these SCAMS.
  1. This legislation creates a NIGHTMARE FOR RETAILERS as it requires separate sales and use tax reporting for each location! (See HB 277 lines 762-768).
  1. 17% of the revenues collected on motor fuels in Georgia go into the General Fund, not transportation (see pages 3 & 4). If transportation is the priority claimed, WHY is this true? What about the $750,000  to take a black bear census and to build bear underpasses on a state highway? Is that a transportation ‘priority?’
  1. Columbia County has huge funds from SPLOST which it uses for road improvements even on state highways. DOT keeps the motor fuel taxes. THIS IS A THIRD HUGE POT OF MONEY. Neither of the other two go away!
  1. Looking at the bill, it allows COUNTIES to charge Administrative costs (HB 277 Line 474). This is HIDDEN from cursory examination of this bill. No wonder the county administrators are drooling.
  1. Looking at the bill, it forces counties (HB 277 lines 800-850) to use DOT and envisions DOT as ‘consultant’ on the discretionary projects. The DOT’s Todd Long alluded to this during the Chamber of Commerce forum in Evans on Wednesday, June 6.
  2. House Bill 277 also states that the collection of T-Splost funds is subordinated to collection of the state sales and use taxes (see HB 277, lines 750-752).
As a past member of the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce, this writer is concerned that championing this outrageous deception will ruin recruitment for Chambers of Commerce. It might be an easier sell for the Communist Party to sign up new members after this misguided foray into public policy!
Let’s defeat T-Splost on July 31.
Along the way we need to make ALL of the county commissioners tell us their positions on this new tax so that we can be informed voters. They are calling it a “fair” tax, so isn’t requiring disclosure of their stance on T-Splost likewise FAIR?
Then make the politicians PAY.***
A.G.
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